Bronxville High School students and their families have made the holidays a little brighter for veterans at the New York State Veterans’ Home at Montrose by generously donating more than 100 gifts to them.
The holiday gift drive, which was spearheaded by social studies teacher Dana Landesman when she answered the facility’s plea for help last year, was led by the sophomore class this year. Over the course of a week, the students quickly collected sweaters, socks, blankets, books, jewelry and snack baskets, among other gifts, to fulfill the veterans’ wishes. They wrapped the gifts during an after-school wrap-a-thon on Dec. 15 before Landesman dropped off the donations.
“The staff at the hospital were overjoyed and appreciative of the donations in helping to make the holiday more special for the residents,” Landesman said. “Thanks to all the students and their families who participated in this drive.”
The New York State Veterans’ Home at Montrose provides quality care to veterans in need of skilled nursing and rehabilitation services. Students said that donating the gifts was a way for them to thank the veterans for their service to and sacrifices for our country.
“This gift-giving tradition has definitely made a difference,” said sophomore Anabel Maldonado, who answered a veteran’s wish for Pringles potato chips. “This veteran asked for something that I would never think to ask for, but I hope giving her those six bins of Pringles will make a difference, and I hope it made her holidays a little better.”
Sophomore Amelia Srebnik said it was an honor for her to be able to fulfill the veterans’ wishes within a week due to the overwhelmingly positive response from the entire school.
“I hope that the generosity of our class and the high school overall makes a difference in brightening up each one of the veterans’ holidays, as they deserve this and much more for risking their lives to keep us safe,” said Srebnik, whose family fulfilled a veteran’s wish for crossword puzzles, colored pencils and a shirt.
In addition to the granted wishes and thanks to the generosity of members of the Bronxville High School Hearts to Home Club, the veterans will receive extra gifts this holiday season, including sweat pants, pajamas, socks and blankets.
“We hoped to do something special for the holidays with the money we raised during our fall fundraisers,” said senior Jack McSherry, president of the Hearts to Home Club whose goal is to support members of the military and their families. “When we learned about this great opportunity to support the veterans, we were really happy to help.”